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Commentary: Perioperative management of patients with COVID-19

Chen X et al. Perioperative management of patients infected with the novel coronavirus: recommendations from the Joint Task Force of the Chinese Society of Anaesthesiology and the Chinese Association of Anaesthesiologists. Anesthesiology 2020;Mar 26 [Online ahead of print]
7 April, 2020  

The Chinese identified the potential risk to healthcare workers from COVID-19 and there were over 3000 staff who became infected.

One group of staff at a heightened risk include anaesthetists, who are in close proximity to patients. In light of these risks, two Chinese Anaesthesia Societies have come together and produced recommendations to support healthcare to optimise patient care while at the same time protecting both staff and patients.

The authors comment on how the recommendations are only relevant to practice within China and due to differences in other healthcare systems throughout the world, may not be generalisable. However, the general advice provided would appear pertinent to all healthcare systems and is now common practice in other countries.

For example, use of personal protective equipment by staff and that a patient’s temperature is recorded before entering the consulting room and if above 37.3 degrees C, that the patient should be taken to special clinics for fever disorders and reported to the infection control officer.

Other recommendations related to hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection are also now practised in other countries. Other advice to cancel non-urgent procedures for infected patients and post-operative isolation of infected patients and use of negative pressure wards serve to illustrate just how seriously the potential for infection was managed by the Chinese.